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NEWARK, NJ-On paper it’s a fairly straightforward real estate transaction – the Federal Trust building, located a block west of the Gateway Center in the downtown area of New Jersey’s largest city, has been sold by Read Properties of Brooklyn, NY to New York-based Stern Management. The price tag for the 21-story, 200,000-sf building was reported as $8.5 million.

But this latest transaction is actually the culmination of an odyssey for the venerable structure, whose actual address is 24 Commerce Street. Years ago it was owned by the Helmsleys, but it was picked up by GTST, a locally based investment group, for less than $500,000 in 1997. GTST spruced up the building, raised occupancy from virtually nothing to more than 80% and sold it just over a year later to Read Properties. The sale price was more than $2.2 million.

The property remains at approximately the 80% level in terms of occupancy, and Stern Management is said to be actively talking with several potential tenants. Further terms of the sale were not disclosed.

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